SENDIAS - Resolving Disagreements

You may disagree with something to do with your child's special educational provision, most of the time this can be sorted out by talking with the either the early years setting, school, college or local authority - this is often referred to as Dispute Resolution.

It can sometimes be difficult to reach agreement, therefore if you're not happy about the support your child or young person with SEND receives, you can challenge it.

Most issues can be sorted amicably by talking to:

  • your child's educational setting
  • the SEN team in Doncaster council

If you still can't sort the issues, using disagreement resolution or mediation can help. Both these services are FREE and available to parents of children with special educational needs and to young people with special educational needs. 

Disagreement resolution

A Disagreement resolution tries to resolve disagreements in a quick and informal way. The process is voluntary and has to be agreed by all parties.  

Some of the ways that disagreement resolution can be used are:

  • How a setting or the local authority are carrying out either their education, health and care duties for children and young people with special educational needs. 
  • Provision that is being delivered by a setting.


Mediation is a voluntary process for parents and young people. the service is used if agreement cannot be reached for sections within an EHC plan. The Mediation is conducted by a trained and accredited mediator who is independent of the local authority.  

Mediation is available if there is a disagreement about:  

  • Carrying out an EHC needs assessment 
  • Drawing up an EHC plan following a EHC needs assessment
  • Parts within a EHC plan that describe the child or young  person's special educational needs
  • Not to amending an EHC plan after an annual review 
  • Cease to maintain an EHC plan.
  • Special educational provision set out in the EHC plan
  • Health and social care elements of an EHC plan.

To request mediation you must send the request within 2 months of the date on the letter received from the local authority with their decision.

If a local authority agree to make certain steps within the mediation but fail to do so this can be challenged at Judicial Review.

You can find more information about mediation on the IPSEA website

SEND Tribunal 

If a mediation agreement is not reached then parents and young people can also register an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal about the matters listed above. This is an independent first-tier tribunal who hear parents or the young persons appeal against the decisions made by the local authority in relation to special educational needs.

To request an appeal you must first have your mediation certificate which you would received following mediation, the certificate shows that a decision was not reached. There are some circumstances in which you do not need to have a certificate from a mediation adviser before you register an appeal with the SEND Tribunal. This is the case if the appeal is only about the name of the setting within Section I of the EHC plan. There are a number of steps you will need to take to prepare the case before the hearing that will help you achieve the best possible outcome. 

You can find more information about Tribunal on the IPSEA website.

The IPSEA website has useful information and advice for all types of appeals.


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Last updated: 09 June 2021 08:11:02